Effective sustainable development policies and programmes are not created in a vacuum, which is why UNEP has for years been providing cutting-edge science to governments to assist them in bridging the science-policy gap. Despite UNEP's best efforts, access to quality data and sound knowledge has been constrained by many factors, including lack of investment and mechanisms for regular data sharing. In an effort to change this situation, UNEP has developed UNEP Live, a cutting-edge, dynamic platform to share environmental science and research in a timely manner.
UNEP Live uses global services combined with regional, national and local data to identify key and emerging environmental issues and support integrated assessments and policy analysis. UNEP Live is being developed in phases and will underpin UNEP's assessment work, such as its Global Environment Outlook series and the UNEP Year Book. The tenth edition of the Year Book focused on rapid change in the Arctic and minimizing chemical risks; highlighting, for example, that the extent of Arctic sea ice was at a record low in September 2012 and that a coordinated international response will be needed to deal with the repercussions of continued melt.
Once the science establishes the need for action, governments can act both unilaterally and in a more internationally coordinated fashion through Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs), which serve to rally nations around issues of global importance.
In 2013, UNEP targeted more coherence in international environmental governance by working to coordinate and integrate more closely the work of key MEAs. In the chemicals and waste arena, for example, progress was achieved through a country-led process that identified ways of strengthening long-term sound management of chemicals and waste through increased synergies in the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm conventions. Aside from ongoing support to the MEAs it hosts, UNEP runs InforMEA, an information portal that assists Parties to enhance implementation. The collaboration currently includes 43 international legal instruments from 17 MEA Secretariats.